Take-home COVID-19 Tests

Limestone Learning Foundation

Recent significant changes to COVID-19 testing and case and contact management for schools has resulted in changes to take-home testing kits for students and staff. The Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Health and Ontario Health continues to provide school boards in Ontario with take-home COVID-19 tests to provide students and staff with accessible testing options, however there are some changes outlined below. 

Image of components of Rapid Antigen Test kitsRapid Antigen Test: The Ministry of Education, in partnership with Ministry of Health and Ministry of Government and Consumer Services, is providing publicly funded schools and licensed child-care programs with rapid antigen test kits for symptomatic students, children and staff until the end of the 2021-2022 school year.
Schools will continue to receive a limited supply of RATs and will distribute to those who become symptomatic at school or returning from an unplanned absence. 

The test kit contains five (5) rapid antigen tests. This testing option is voluntary for students, children and staff. If a symptomatic individual chooses not to participate, they are presumed positive and should isolate immediately and follow updated testing guidance.
    


Rapid Antigen Test Letter to Families

In an effort to help slow the spread of COVID-19, reduce absenteeism, and to continue to support our school communities, the Limestone District School Board continues to offer rapid antigen test kits for symptomatic students and staff. In alignment with the updated testing guidance from Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, when a student or staff member returns form an unplanned absence, they are able to receive a rapid antigen test kit, to be used only if the individual is experiencing symptoms compatible with COVID-19. 

 

The test kit contains five (5) rapid antigen tests. This testing option is voluntary for students, children and staff. If a symptomatic individual chooses not to participate, they are presumed positive and should isolate immediately and follow updated testing guidance:   

 

Please read the information below carefully, if choosing to participate. 

 

When to Use a Take-home Rapid Antigen Screening Kit:

  • For individuals choosing to participate in this testing option, they must display symptoms commonly associated with COVID-19. As outlined in the Province's updated guidance, this includes:
    • Fever and/or chills; OR
    • Cough; OR
    • Shortness of breath; OR
    • Decrease or loss of taste or smell; OR
  •  

  •   Two or more of: 

    • runny nose/nasal congestion
    • headache
    • extreme fatigue
    • sore throat
    • muscle aches/joint pain
    • gastrointestinal symptoms (i.e. vomiting or diarrhea)
  • Symptomatic individuals must complete the rapid antigen tests at home.
  •  If the first RAT test is positive there is no need to use the second test. A positive RAT is highly indicative that the individual has COVID-19. A positive RAT does NOT need to be confirmed with a PCR test. Positive RAT tests do NOT need to be reported to the public health unit, school or child care
  • If the first RAT test is negative complete the second test separated by 24-48 hours. 

Using the Take-home Rapid Antigen Screening Kit: 

  • There are 3 different varieties of rapid antigen tests that are being distributed by the province. Please see the links below for instructions on how to use each variety:
  • The Ontario COVID-19 Science Advisory Table has updated the recommendations for how to complete an oral/nasal swab used for rapid antigen testing. This is an optional swabbing approach.
  •   You may also reference this how-to video for a nasal swab.

Please note: When rapid antigen tests are used according to instructions, they do not pose a risk to the health of Ontarians. Note that the liquid in the tubes can irritate your eyes and skin and is dangerous if swallowed. If the liquid accidentally touches your skin, wash it with plenty of water. If it touches your eyes or mouth, rinse with plenty of water for 15 minutes and contact your healthcare provider or the Ontario Poison Centre (1-800-268-9017) for assistance.
Important note: Parents or guardians may choose to administer this screening on children who may need help (i.e. younger children).

 

What to do after your test: 

  • You will know the outcome of the test within 15 minutes.
  • If the first rapid antigen test is positive, there is no need to use the second test. A positive rapid antigen test is highly indicative that the individual has COVID-19. Positive rapid antigen tests do NOT need to be reported to the public health unit, school or child care.
  • If the first rapid antigen test is negative, complete the second test within 24-48 hours of the first test. If two consecutive rapid antigen tests, separated by 24-48 hours, are both negative, the symptomatic individual is less likely to have COVID-19 infection, and the individual should isolate until symptoms are improving for at least 24 hours (or 48 hours if gastrointestinal symptoms are present).
  • If the individual who tests positive is fully vaccinated or 11 years of age or younger, they must self-isolate for at least 5 days from symptom onset and until their symptoms have been improving for 24 hours (or 48 hours if gastrointestinal symptoms), whichever is longer in duration. 
  • If the individual who tests positive is 12 years of age or older and is either partially vaccinated or unvaccinated they must self-isolate for 10 days from symptom onset or from the date of their test (whichever was earlier). 
  • If the individual who tests positive is immune compromised (regardless of age nd vaccination status) they must self-isolate for 10 days from the onset of symptoms, or from the date of their test (whichever came sooner).
    • If symptoms persist / worsen, individuals are encouraged to seek advice from Telehealth or their health care provider.

Please note that the Chief Medical Officer of Health has updated guidance for anyone who has had a positive test result (molecular/PCR or RAT). Individuals who receive a positive test result should not participate in antigen testing for 30 days from their COVID-19 infection (based on the date of their symptom onset or test). After this period, symptomatic individuals can resume COVID-19 rapid antigen testing in accordance with the Province's updated guidance

Rapid Antigen Test Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Rapid Antigen Testing program?

As announced on January 12, 2022, the Ministry of Education, in partnership with Ministry of Health and Ministry of Government and Consumer Services, is providing publicly funded schools and licensed child-care programs with rapid antigen test kits for symptomatic students, children and staff. Students and staff will receive a package of two rapid antigen tests proactively, for at-home use if they develop symptoms. 

Who is eligible to receive the rapid test kits?

Rapid tests are for staff and students who are working/attending school in person.

Do students have to use the rapid test kits?

No. Use of rapid tests is voluntary.

What is included in the take-home test kits?

Each rapid test kit contains:

  • individually packed test devices
  • extraction buffer vials with nozzle
  • individually packed swabs
  • Hard copy instructions on how to complete the test, also available online.

What do you do after the test?

  • You will know the outcome of the test within 15 minutes.
  • If the first RAT test is positive there is no need to use the second test. A positive RAT is highly indicative that the individual has COVID-19. A positive RAT does NOT need to be confirmed with a PCR test. Positive RAT tests do NOT need to be reported to the public health unit, school or child care. A student that receives a positive result on a rapid test should remain at home and following the Return to School or Child Care Protocols as outlined by KFL&A Public Health.
  • If the first RAT test is negative complete the second test separated by 24-48 hours. If test results are negative, your student may attend school as usual. Even if your student tests negative, they should continue to adhere to all relevant Public Health directions.

Where can families get assistance?

If families have any questions about the rapid testing process, they may contact Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000.

 

The Limestone District School Board is situated on traditional territories of the Anishinaabe & Haudenosaunee.